New high-performance opportunities
Within a few years, we will be able to use 5G. The main difference compared to 4G is higher speed and lower latency, which play a vital role in solutions that become a possibility in 5G. It will herald the arrival of completely new applications that have to achieve optimal performance at all times.
Rolling out a 5G infrastructure is a much more complex operation than the previous 3G and 4G networks – and more expensive, since it requires a sizable expansion of mobile base stations and connecting links. This upgrade will require a much more densely-deployed network of masts and antennas.
Complex and expensive rollout
Rollout would be a costly affair for individual operators. Not only would it be a major nuisance for the population if all operators were to excavate the streets for their own separate 5G networks, but it also takes too long before operators can get a return on their investments in the new generation of networks. The current time-consuming permit procedures take too long for a fast rollout. The current municipal tax on encroachments in, on or above public land, which is not harmonized in municipalities, represents an additional expense.
In The Netherlands Eurofiber initiated the 5G charter, which was handed to State Secretary Mona Keijzer in March 2019. In the 5G Charter, telecom companies, the business community, interest groups, knowledge institutes and local and national government authorities express their commitment to working together to maintain the leading role that the Netherlands is taking in the digital society.
Applications based on 5G
Smart mobility is an application that will become viable in the near future, in which vehicles will communicate with each other and with smart traffic facilities or operation centers that will achieve flawless performance remotely. That standard of quality requires a network that can transfer data within a fraction of a second. Options might also include a doctor that can perform remote surgery on someone using a robotic arm. Or semi-automated or fully self-driving vehicles that communicate with pedestrians, traffic lights and other vehicles via 5G. The new network will take the Internet of Things to the next level, allowing us to hook up billions of devices to online access. And the possibilities for entertainment are endless, including options for streaming high-quality video to virtual reality glasses.
Massive volumes of data
These new applications will use a huge amount of data. For instance, a fully automated guided vehicle will use approximately 4 TB or 4,000 GB per day. Achieving reliable connectivity for those volumes at high speeds and low latencies will require a much denser network with many more base stations – not just the large, visible masts that we know, but also the much smaller 5G infrastructure. We’ll also need an additional 150 special data centers to process all that data. And all of that needs to be connected to each other as well! It represents a much bigger job than the 4G rollout. At that point, it was still possible for all mobile providers to build their own network. It would be prohibitively inefficient to go down that road again.